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The Rule of Laws


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About the Author

Fernanda Pirie is professor of the anthropology of law at the University of Oxford. She is the author of The Anthropology of Law and has conducted fieldwork in the mountains of Ladakh and the grasslands of eastern Tibet. She previously spent almost a decade practicing as a barrister at the London bar. She lives in Oxford, UK.


"[Pirie's] collection of stories offers a comprehensive insight into how civilizations were founded and ruled... Furthermore, it bolsters our appreciation for the laws at our civilization's foundational structure."--Roanoke Times
"In the course of her survey, Ms. Pirie, a professor of legal anthropology at Oxford, takes us on many an intriguing legal byway... [An] exceptionally rich narrative..."--Wall Street Journal
"A valuable study for students of the law and its evolution over the millennia."--Kirkus Reviews
"An intriguing synthesis of the history of global legal codes and their origins."--Library Journal
"In this panoramic history, Pirie tells the story of the rise and fall of systems of law across the civilizations, empires, and societies of the ancient and modern world."--Foreign Affairs
"The Rule of Laws is a fascinating, comprehensive study that forces us to think again about what law is, and why it matters. Far from being a dry set of rules, Fernanda Pirie argues, law is nothing less than a way of creating order and civilization. For those who want to understand why human society has emerged as it has, this is essential reading."--Rana Mitter, University of Oxford
"The Rule of Laws offers a pathbreaking and stimulating account of how societies across different regions and epochs drew upon secular, sacred, and scholarly traditions to create laws that organized the lives of their citizens. Pirie leads readers across five millennia to show the diverse and sophisticated legal systems developed in states across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas before explaining how the European-derived legal structures of our time achieved a rather unlikely and historically anomalous global dominance. This expansive narrative challenges what we think we know about legal history and the assumptions we make about law's future."--Edward J. Watts, author of Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny

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